20 years ago, Joel and Ethan Coen released one of their most famous movies, “O Brother, Where Art Thou“. I was a big fan of their movies, particularly Fargo, Blood Simple, Miller’s Crossing and of course the iconic big Lebowski, so I watched it in my movie theater as soon as it was released. I remember it was in a MK2 movie theater in Paris. Needless to say that I was fascinated by the movie, its characters, its story and its screenplay. George Clooney, Tim Blake Nelson and John Turturro were absolutely brilliant, as well as all the other actors (Holly Hunter, John Goodman…). But the most important fact is that I fell in love with its soundtrack, a fantastic collection of songs from a genre that I didn’t know at that time: bluegrass.
Weeks and months after watching “O’ Brother“, thanks to rhe CD I had bought, I was still listening to “I’m a man of constant sorrow” (on repeat…), “Big Rock Candy Mountain“, “In the jailhouse now” and its amazing yodel, the beautiful “Down to the river to pray“, “You’re my sunshine“, “Keep on the sunny side“, “I’ll fly away“, “Angel Band“, “Didn’t leave nobody but the baby” or “In the highways“.
I was so enthusiastic, after watching the movie and listening to its soundtrack, that I bought two CD’s from Rounder Records, a live album of Alison Krauss and Union Station and a bluegrass compilation, including great songs of Rhonda Vincent, Lynn Morris, the Del McCoury band, Dan Tyminski or James King. All those CD’s were my companions at home and on the road at he beginning of the 2000’s, and they strongly contributed to my love for bluegrass and for country music.
What I didn’t know, at that moment, was that I would create a blog, 18 years later, dedicated to country music genre. Indeed, if you read me today, it’s partly because I saw “O’ Brother“. Partly only because in 2000, country music was not completely a novelty for me. As I was I a child, in the 80’s, I was a fan of the fantastic show “Dukes of Hazzard“, and Waylon Jennings’ “Good Ol’ Boys” was indeed my first contact with the genre (and what a contact!). But “O’ Brother” was certainly the movie that definitely strenghtened my love for the genre.
That’s why, 20 years after its reelase, I just wanted to write this post as a little tribute to one of the most amazing movies ever released, not only a movie but also an ode to bluegrass, a genre that defines American culture and is part of Southern pride.